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Ryko Ups Video Offerings With Arts Magic Deal

21 Mar, 2004 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Ryko Distribution, the venerable New York-based wholesale conduit to about 30 music labels, is expanding its video presence as exclusive U.S. distributor for offbeat U.K. film studio Arts Magic.

Under terms of the deal, Ryko will release on May 25 the DVD Full Metal Yakuza, a 103-minute horror flick that is described as “a bizarre Japanese response to Robocop” and is directed by Takashi Miike.

The $24.95 DVD features the requisite bonus material, including commentary from the actors and Miike, in addition to previews, artwork and a link to a Web site.

“We approach video like we do audio,” said Jim Cuomo, president of distribution at Ryko.

“We have very, very tight criteria for what we handle. There's no burn over here to add a lot of labels.”

In addition to Magic, Ryko, which has distributed video content since 1998, represents material from independent studios Blue Underground, Cult Epics, Disinformation, Fantoma/Zoetrope, Plexifilm and Troma/Roan Group.

The 1980 sci-fi movie The Final Countdown (starring Kirk Douglas and Martin Sheen as officers on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Nimitz that goes back in time) from Blue Underground is projected to sell out its 100,000 unit limited edition DVD production run before its street date March 30, according to Cuomo.

“We're always on the hunt for things but in a very selective way,” Cuomo said. “Something that fits our culture of providing a true assortment of genres and not becoming just a cult movie distributor.”

Other titles include Style Wars from Plexifilm and 1982's One From the Heart, director Francis Ford Coppola's first film after Apocalypse Now.

He says the company will triple or quadruple its DVD output this year, with the format representing 25 percent to 40 percent of the business by the end of 2004 and into 2005.

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